T.O.S. is a small artisan distillery in the heart of barley country in the Hauts-de-France, the northernmost region in France. Hauts-de-France is a diverse region, blending historic Flemish culture with the influences of generations of immigrants who came to the area looking for work. The team at T.O.S. is a direct reflection of these influences, combining restoration, revitalization, and innovation to create one of the most exciting craft spirits projects in France.
The small team of four friends began as brewers, founding the Brasserie Saint Germain Brewery in their hometown of Aix-Noulette over twenty years ago. The team consists of Katy Gravina, Stéphane and Vincent Bogaert, and Hervé Descamps. The brewery was founded by the two brothers, Stéphane and Vincent, and their friend Hervé, who all have deeply-rooted Flemish origins. When Katy joined the team in 2017 as T.O.S. Master Distiller, they installed a still on “the other side” (hence T.O.S. Distillerie) of the brewery’s walls with the mission to distill the area’s legendary grain.
Boutefeu genièvre from T.O.S. is a historic spirit from the Hauts-de-France region. A cousin to Dutch genever, French genièvre was the everyday spirit for local mining and textile workers. A natural product of the area’s historic barley and juniper crops, genièvre was a way to fortify against the tiring work and cool Northern climate. Though it was once produced in enormous quantities in the region, it has now become almost extinct.
T.O.S. is looking to change that. As one of the only remaining genièvres being produced in France and the only one in the US market, T.O.S. Boutefeu is a piece of history produced by a modern young team, helmed by Master Distiller Katy Gravina, a former perfumer. Katy applies contemporary artisan distilling techniques to this traditional spirit, making it an essential part of the conversation around unaged barley distillates.
Their Boutefeu genièvre focuses on the grains first by co-fermenting 80% local barley and 20% rye prior to the first distillation. The spirit is then aromatized with juniper berries (though far less than your typical London dry gin) before the second distillation. Both distillations are made with their copper pot still. Boutefeu is then diluted with local reverse-osmosis filtered water and bottled at 43% ABV.
Flavor Profile: Explosive nose of stewed pears, red apple peel, hints of lemon peel and malted milk. The spice kicks in on the palate, with the peppery rye and juniper sticking to the tongue. Finishes sweet and full, returning to mashed barley and apple.
Usage Notes:While Boutefeu works beautifully in certain gin-related cocktails, like a Vesper, its true potential lies in original cocktails based on its aromatic, grain-forward profile. Pair with orchard fruit liqueurs, Cognac, Calvados, orange liqueurs, rosemary, and mint — or drink neat, appreciating its distinctly fragrant profile.